Column: The Pressure of High School Sports Recruiting


Recruiting for high school sports is one of the most unrelenting processes for almost every high school in America. College institutions continually scout out the next wave of talent in each high school’s graduating class. Student athletes as young as 6 years old receive scholarship offers from colleges for their athletic talent and the trend is increasing.

As a student athlete being recruited for football, I have noticed and experienced firsthand the pressures high school athletes deal with when being recruited by colleges for sports. While high school sports recruiting is a great opportunity for student athletes to receive full scholarships for their education, it definitely comes with its share of mental and emotional challenges.With that experience in mind, college programs should be more considerate of a student athlete’s time in terms of contacting them and wanting them to visit their campus for certain events.

Student athletes must uphold a higher standard than most high school students, with expectations to represent the school well on the field, off the field and on social media. Athletes are being watched by peers, coaches and teachers, but also by college coaches and their respective universities. If athletes make a mistake, the situation is looked at a bit harder by everyone as opposed to the average high school student. The implications of one bad mistake reach farther than the punishment a non-athlete may receive at CHS; It can derail one’s chances of being recruited by college programs.

College programs should also recognize student athletes are still students; they have a lot of schoolwork to deal with along with their sports. Many athletes participate in two or three sports, making this balance even harder.

I’ve been contacted by multiple colleges to attend sporting events during my football season, but between my commitments to schoolwork and my football team I have not been able to make their games. At times, I am asked to step out of class to meet with colleges. I feel like there’s a better way colleges can communicate with student athletes as opposed to the methods that are being used today.  

Finally, while the pressure to choose a college is stressful enough, the addition of recruiting based on athletic ability increases the stakes and mental strain. There should be specialized resources for student athletes when it comes to high school sports, such as specialized counselors focusing on academic eligibility and support for athletes. Sometimes, it feels like the student athletes are on their own when it comes to sports recruiting, because it takes more than help from coaches and parents to get through the high school recruiting process smoothly.

While high school sports recruiting offers students with the chance of a full scholarship, the college programs should be aware of the pressures on student athletes and accommodate their schedules. The stress would be greatly reduced on student athletes if colleges could find a way to work around the student athlete’s schedules and communicate with them at more appropriate times as opposed to school time.